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Press Release

Atlantic City, New Jersey, Man Admits Insurance Fraud, Drug Distribution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – An Atlantic City, New Jersey, man today admitted to staging a fake robbery of a Union County, New Jersey, pawnshop for the purpose of perpetrating an insurance fraud and to distributing illegal drugs, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Salvatore “Sam” Piccolo, 67, of Atlantic City, a member of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra organized crime family, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to an information charging him with distribution 216 grams of methamphetamine and one count of wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Piccolo admitted that on April 19, 2014, he and an accomplice entered a pawnshop in Union County, purportedly to sell some silver items. Once inside the shop, the accomplice displayed a hand gun while Piccolo, wearing a nylon mask, chained the front doors closed to prevent anyone from entering. The owner was bound, as a pretense, while Piccolo and his accomplice looted the safe of what the owner told police was approximately $60,000 in cash, several pieces of jewelry, and a hand gun. The owner later submitted to his insurance company a fraudulent loss claim that was paid for approximately $174,000.

Piccolo also admitted making three sales of methamphetamine totaling 216 grams of the drug to an undercover FBI agent. Subsequent laboratory analysis determined the methamphetamine to be 99 percent pure.

The distribution of methamphetamine charge carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison; the wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Both counts are also punishable by a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Askin of the Criminal Division, Camden Office, and Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

Updated April 16, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-109